Four-run 7th lifts Toronto to 7-6 win over Boston

Posted April 15, 2011, at 11:32 p.m.
Last modified April 16, 2011, at 12:28 a.m.

BOSTON — Another comeback win for the Toronto Blue Jays. Another loss for the Boston Red Sox.

Jose Bautista singled in the go-ahead run in a four-run seventh inning and the Blue Jays came from behind for the fifth time in seven wins this season, deepening the misery of the struggling Red Sox with a 7-6 victory on Friday night.

“They are all good wins,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.

Good, bad or ugly, the Red Sox desperately need a win after dropping to 2-10, matching their poorest start in history and making the worst record in baseball even worse. They did hit two homers after managing just seven in their first 11 games, but finished with only five hits.

Brett Cecil (1-1) gave up those homers to Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis in the third when Boston went ahead 3-0. Toronto tied it on Corey Patterson’s two-run double in the fifth and Travis Snider’s RBI double in the sixth.

“This team is not going to quit and neither am I,” Cecil said. “I feel great about tonight. Two bad pitches and that was it.”

Bobby Jenks (0-1) started the seventh for Boston and allowed all four runs, making it 7-3.

The Red Sox scored three in the eighth on an RBI single by Jed Lowrie and a two-run double by Marco Scutaro.

“It’s not going to mean anything tomorrow because we lost,” Boston manager Terry Francona said, “but, always, we’ve got to give ourselves a chance. We’re looking for positives.”

Jon Rauch pitched the ninth for his third save, retiring Carl Crawford, Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez.

“The guys battled all day and gave us a chance to win,” Rauch said.

Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million contract in the offseason, went 0 for 5 and is batting just .137 (7 for 51).

He appeared to beat out a groundball leading off the first but was called out by first base umpire Paul Nauert.

“You definitely try to keep the negative thoughts out of your head and try to stay positive because you know you have four more at bats to go,” Crawford said.

The game was the first between Francona and his former pitching coach, Farrell, who downplayed that matchup.

“I know they’re out to beat us,” he said, “and we’re out to beat them.”

The Blue Jays nearly took a 1-0 lead in the first when Adam Lind’s drive down the right field line was ruled a two-run homer by Nauert. Francona disputed the call. The umpires reviewed it and ruled the ball foul. Lind then grounded out. It was the ninth replay review ever at Fenway Park and sixth that was overturned.

“It looked like we caught a big break and we got the 3-0 lead,” Francona said. “We didn’t have a lot of hits but we had two big ones and then we let it get away.”

The Red Sox went ahead against Cecil when Pedroia hit his second homer of the season, a solo shot. Gonzalez then walked and Youkilis followed with his first homer. David Ortiz then walked, but Cecil retired his remaining 11 batters before being replaced by Jason Frasor to start the seventh.

The Blue Jays began chipping away in the fifth when Clay Buchholz walked Juan Rivera and Jayson Nix and both scored on Patterson’s double. In the sixth, they tied the score at 3 when Snider doubled home Lind, who had walked.

In the seventh, Jenks retired just one of the five batters he faced.

Nix led off with a walk and took third on a single by Yunel Escobar before Patterson struck out. Bautista then singled Nix home, putting Toronto on top 4-3, and Escobar took second. Lind singled in Escobar, and with Aaron Hill at-bat, Bautista and Lind pulled off a double steal. Then Bautista scored and Lind took third on a wild pitch.

Hill followed with an RBI single, chasing Jenks, and Felix Doubront ended the inning by retiring the next two batters.

Notes: The Red Sox also were 2-10 in 1925, 1927 and 1996. … Before the game, Gonzalez signed a $154 million, seven-year contract running from 2012 to 2018. He already was signed for $6.3 million for this year. … Escobar has reached base in all 10 games he’s played. … Patterson has six RBIs in four games since coming off the disabled list. … Toronto placed IF Edwin Encarnacion on the bereavement list and recalled IF Mike McCoy and LHP Luis Perez from Triple-A Las Vegas. … Lind’s seventh inning single snapped an 0 for 15 slump. … Buchholz tied his career high with five walks.

Rangers 5, Yankees 3

NEW YORK — Undefeated Matt Harrison and Texas tied an AL record by turning six double plays and the Rangers picked up where they left off last October, beating the New York Yankees.

The teams played for the first time since Texas battered the Yankees to win last year’s AL championship series in six games. The Rangers won this time with pitching, thanks to Harrison (3-0) and his sure-handed fielders on a chilly, windy evening.

Texas turned double plays on grounders by the first six hitters in the New York lineup — Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones and Nick Swisher.

This was the 15th time an AL team made six DPs in a game. The major league mark for double plays in a game is seven by San Francisco in 1969.

Harrison, left off Texas’ postseason roster last year, gave up two runs and seven hits in eight innings. The 25-year-old lefty has pitched at least seven innings in every start this season, having previously beaten Boston and Baltimore.

Harrison stayed in control despite moving up a day in the Rangers rotation. Colby Lewis’ spot was skipped after the birth of his daughter this week, and he became the first player to go on Major League Baseball’s new paternity leave list.

Even when the Yankees threatened in the eighth, with Curtis Granderson homering and Jeter following with a single, Texas manager Ron Washington stuck with Harrison. It worked, too, as Swisher promptly bounced into the final DP.

Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his fifth save. Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez had an RBI single with two outs and Jorge Posada followed with a walk, but Russell Martin hit a routine flyball to end it.

Harrison has the best run support of any pitcher with at least 30 starts since the beginning of the 2008 season — over seven runs per game — and Texas again backed him despite getting outhit 9-4 by the Yankees.

Indians 8, Orioles 2

CLEVELAND — The shocking start is now a sudden slump.

The Baltimore Orioles are no longer baseball’s biggest surprise.

They dropped their fifth straight game Friday night, as the Cleveland Indians had one productive inning against Orioles rookie lefthander Zach Britton and dropped Baltimore back to .500 after the club opened the season with four wins in a row.

Despite the slide, during which his team has been outscored 37-12, manager Buck Showalter remains confident the Birds are back.

“We’ll be fine,” he said. “We’re going to be a good offensive team. It’s an area of concern when you are losing, but I think we’re about ready to start scoring some runs.”

Justin Masterson (3-0) held the Orioles to four hits in seven innings and Asdrubal Cabrera had four RBIs for the Indians, who handed Britton (2-1) his first loss and won their fifth in a row at home.

At 9-4, the Indians are off to their best start since 2002 and have flipped the AL Central standings upside down. Travis Hafner homered for Cleveland, which entered the series tied for first with Kansas City. Last season, the Indians finished fourth in the division, two games ahead of the last-place Royals.

Cabrera’s two-run single highlighted Cleveland’s four-run third inning off Britton, who gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings of his third major league start.

Britton won his first two starts, allowing just one run in his first 13 2-3 innings to beat Tampa Bay and Texas. Showalter said the 23-year-old displayed something special in spring training before even throwing a pitch.

“You could see it in his eyes,” Showalter said before the game. “He’s not too cool for school, but his first thoughts are always ‘What have I got to do to stay here?’ He’s grounded and puts the team first.”

Britton was fine for two innings.

The third one got away from the lefty as the Indians opened a 4-0 lead with six consecutive hits and a sacrifice fly.

“I tried to slow things down in that inning and keep making pitches,” Britton said. “It was a little disappointing there. The pitches were down, but getting too much of the plate. We’re going through a tough stretch and I wanted to give us a good outing. I had a good opportunity to get us back on track, so that makes this more disappointing.”

After struggling for most of 2010, Masterson began to show signs of becoming a dependable starter in the final two months. The 6-foot-6 right-hander has carried that over into this season with three solid starts and wins over Chicago, Seattle and now Baltimore.

Masterson, who got 12 of his 21 outs on grounders, credits slight changes with his mechanics too making him a different pitcher this season. Also an emphasis on throwing his first pitch over the plate. He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of 26 hitters.

“Throwing that first pitch in there allows you to expand the zone a little, which is great with the stuff that I have,” he said. “It’s been very simple, subtle stuff but I’ve done it enough to just go out and pitch and gain confidence with what I have.”

The Indians were hoping to build on a 4-2 trip to Seattle and Los Angeles, and they’re off to a good start by winning their fifth straight at home.

Cabrera added another two-run single in the seventh, when Cleveland blew it open against Baltimore’s bullpen.

Matt LaPorta stretched what looked like a double off the left-field wall into a leadoff triple. Lou Marson, starting in place of slumping catcher Carlos Santana, followed with an RBI single and two more singles loaded the bases before Cabrera grounded a two-run single to center.

Hafner’s sacrifice fly made it 4-0, and Britton only avoided more damage when the Orioles successfully appealed that Cabrera left second too early.

He wasn’t as fortunate in the sixth, when Hafner connected for his third homer.

“One pitch did us in, the home run to Hafner,” Britton said. “That took the wind out of our sails.”

The Orioles need to get it back.

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